I started blogging by accident. More as a journal entry than a way to promote my business.
I work in the reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) field and had to perform one of my least favorite parts of my job; telling a patient that she lost her pregnancy. I found myself thinking about her (and how I imparted the news) long after the event itself and decided to write about it in order to relieve the stress associated with it.
After doing so, I posted it as a blog on my website and linked it to some social media pages. The next day I woke up to a buzzing phone with many notifications of ‘likes’ and comments on my post, either from other nurses, friends or just people who have experienced pregnancy loss. As a result, I realized that writing a blog could help me to inspire and educate more people than I ever could by in-person interactions alone.
Over time, though, writing a blog has helped my business in a more indirect, but no less impactful, way.
1. Establishes Credibility
One of the most obvious benefits and one of the main reasons many people choose to write a blog is to help position themselves as an expert in their field. Researching the topics for my blog has forced me to stay current regarding the latest literature and trends in REI, an important aspect of educating others in a rapidly growing field. I also started to provide content for other REI blogs, in addition to my own, further expanding my reach and getting others to notice me and my brand.
2. Patient Insight
My blog has provided me with so much valuable insight into the mindset of patients, which I’m then able to share with the nurses who care for them.
I started expanding my social media presence in order to research ideas for blog posts and found that infertility patients started following me. Reading what they post on their Instagram pages has been eye-opening for me, as it challenged my perception of the importance of certain events in the infertility journey.
A great example of this is the appointment with the physician following a failed treatment cycle, an appointment that nurses call a “negative follow-up” and patients (apparently) call the WTF appointment.
I realized that this appointment is meaningful, as patients have many questions regarding the reason for their cycle failure and are curious about the plan for next steps. I was surprised, though, at the level of anticipation for this particular office visit. Patients post often about anxiously waiting for this appointment, they postulate what will be discussed and despair that there might not be a viable option for them to achieve a pregnancy.
REI nurses barely mention this appointment when we call them with their negative pregnancy test.
The negative pregnancy test phone call is dreaded by REI nurses everywhere and, as a by-product of our discomfort in having to relay bad news, we often rush through it. Now, I educate the nurses with whom I work that they should call the patient again a day or two after the initial phone call, and spend quality time offering support, outlining what they can expect at the WTF appointment and ending the call with a tone of cautious optimism.
This one extra phone call has been incredibly well-received by patients and goes a long way to alleviate some of the anger and anxiety generated by a negative test result. Had it not been for my blogging efforts I may have never had this insight.
3. Network Growth
Blogging has helped me create and cultivate an invaluable network of nurse entrepreneurs.
At the beginning of my blog and website creation, I would reach out to colleagues and authors of articles and blogs that I respected in order to connect and ask for advice. I didn’t feel like I had much to offer on my end, but eventually, I did. We would bounce ideas off each other, compare new apps or programs or share helpful information. I also became friends with colleagues who worked in the infertility field, but specialized in services tangential to mine and we started to naturally cross-refer to each other.
For example, if a client asks me for patient education materials, I tell them that is not my specialty, but I can refer them to a colleague. In turn, my colleagues refer me when someone needs help with my specialty. In time, I have become part of a community of other nurses, entrepreneurs and healthcare professionals, which has been integral to improving my efficiency, expanding my reach and helping to alleviate the stress that is inherent to owning and running your own business.
4. Added Value for All
My company’s mission is to educate and empower REI nurses and, originally, I only focused on providing novice nurses the information and theory that they need to succeed.
In a short time, though, I realized that I needed something to offer the more experienced nurses too. I found that the way to enrich and enhance the work life of this subset of nurses is to provide them with leadership and networking skills.
So I started to research and write blogs on professional development, mentoring and presentation skills and found myself enlightened in these areas as an added bonus. I utilized my newly-acquired network of nursing contacts to introduce seasoned REI nurses to each other so that they can form their own community, with the goal of creating an environment where they can all thrive.
Writing a blog has added incredible value to my business and I highly recommend starting one, even if you don’t acquire an immediate following. You will benefit from the process of writing it as much, if not more than you will the finished product. Finally, if you define success as having the above-listed benefits, as opposed to just the number of ‘likes’ or comments, then adding a blog to your business repertoire can be one of the most beneficial actions that you can take to advance yourself and your company.
Monica Moore is a nurse practitioner and the founder of Fertile Health, LLC, a consulting company created to train new nurses in reproductive endocrinology and encourage nutritional interventions in REI practices. Before Fertile Health, she was one of the nurse managers at RMA of CT and continues to work as a consultant for them.